Recently we have seen what could cautiously be termed a resurgence in some areas of West Indian cricket. Cricket lovers everywhere fell in love with the boys from Trinidad in October last year when they made it to the final with their dashing style and powerhouse plays. More recently we have seen young players from Nevis being picked for the Under 19 West Indies team to play in New Zealand. All this is good but it doesn’t change the fact that the question of where West Indies cricket is heading is on everybody’s mind in the English-speaking Caribbean. In this part of the world more than anywhere else, cricket is a part of our culture, and although we are too civilized to punish our failed cricketers and murder our coaches, we are deeply emotional about our cricket. In the Caribbean, cricket is woven into the fabric of our lives. What started as a gentleman’s game many years ago has filtered into the grassroots culture and has become integrated into our way of life. Our boys and girls engage in it. Our older people sit and stand and witness it. Our talented young men aspire to it and strive to become skilled professionals. There is no family in the Caribbean, from Jamaica to Guyana, which is not affected By the game of cricket. Caribbean people look at cricket as the one remaining bond which keeps us together. Although our islands share a common history and sociology, the years of modern economics and the assault of alien cultures have interfered with the unity of the area and disturbed the flow of ideas between our peoples. More than any other sport cricket has been the tie that binds. That is the reason why we get emotionally involved with the selectors when they pick a team to represent us. That is why when our cricketers excel we identify with them and raise them to be our heroes. And that is the reason why when they fail we fell their same. That is what made us proud to host the World Cup and that is the why when we decided to host the World Cup, it was not a question of profit and loss but of Caribbean national pride. It is because cricket is important to our system that we are concerned with the way this great game seems to be going to the dogs in the Caribbean. What bothers us the most is that there is an obvious pool of brilliant talent available to the development of this great game and yet the game seems to be plummeting into an a Byss of mediocrity and shame. We appeal to Caribbean leaders to rescue this game, and resurrect it to its former glory. We do not know how this challenging process will be undertaken. We are only ordinary people; but as ordinary people, cricket means to us as much as food, clothing and shelter. It also means national and cultural pride. May our cricket rise again.
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